Cramped quarters

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, is an intriguing one, and is not without a mild undercurrent of a Providential sense of humor.  Not to poke fun at Jonah’s dire straits, but he did, after all, open himself wide to at least some form of discipline.  Interestingly, as the story unfolds, Jonah never denies that he worships the God of the Hebrew people; he just persistently argues with Him, at least concerning God’s intended task for His wayward prophet.  I have to wonder what brought the man to this extreme—maybe someone from Nineveh had harmed his family somehow, causing a hatred so intense that it created a prejudice toward the whole town (along the lines of the comment about Jesus: “can anything good come out of Nazareth”.)  Maybe Jonah considered God to be unjust in His patient treatment of anyone “not Jewish”. 

Or maybe he was just having a bad day…?

Regardless, a massive storm blows up to buffet the ship carrying Continue reading “Cramped quarters”

The Kraken (#10)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

X. A Revelation

He next awoke well-blanketed beside a dying fire,

The blackened sky above his head alive with young desire,

And, by and by, the atmosphere grew gray with dawning light

While, out at sea, a bank of clouds obscured the sun from sight.

The scarlet disk rose from the clouds, a Phoenix over hedge,

As Galen’s host stood placidly along the water’s edge.

The prophet watched the wind and waves, beheld the ocean dance,

Looked back at Galen vacantly, and spoke as in a trance.

“In visions or in midnight dreams, I’ve seen it once or twice,

A hiding place, a pool within a fortress made of ice,

A place that finds this cunning creature swimming unaware.

So rather than on open seas, you best had track it there.

“This Kraken troubles northern ports. Its tentacles spread wide,

And many unsuspecting souls are trapped within its tide,

Polluted in its oily wake before they meet their ends

In suctioned arms that scar and drown and awful beak that rends.

“There never was, as I recall, a sailing man or ship

That managed to release itself once in that slimy grip.”

The prophet fell to silent pause, his face in thoughtful frown.

“You see, you’ll need a better plan to take the monster down.

“At first, I think, you’ll wish to know what weapon I bequeath.

A ship is just a dinner bowl attacked from underneath,

A cannon much too slow to move, too heavy, and the ball,

When discharged into murky depths, scarce bothers it at all.

“Since none of newer weaponry can put your mind at rest,

Used properly in well-trained hands, a spear will function best.

You don’t know where to place the point, but presently you’ll see

The Kraken’s weakest spot discerned from its anatomy.

“The giant head is arrow-shaped and armored under skin.

The soft spot in between the eyes will let the spear blade in.

Behavior is predictable. It holds the second key.

This is a clever animal with one weak tendency.

“It uses beak and tentacles to slake its bloody thirst,

But when it moves below the ice, it always swims head first.

While tentacles still trail behind, you first will see its eyes.

At proper station on the flows, you’ll take it by surprise.

“But first we must construct a forge, then once that job is through,

You’ll fashion spears of such design as I shall give to you.

So learn, and make your weaponry. No caution can be spared.

The battle might turn suddenly, and you must be prepared.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The Kraken (#8)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?) 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones, III ( check it out at Pneumythology)

VIII. Their Just Desserts

The captain was a wicked man who took his crew to task.

He kept the cheer he’d shown ashore contained within his flask,

Capriciously applied the lash to undeserving backs,

And spurred his vessel on along its chosen ocean tracks.

 

They worked the shipping lanes to find their merchandise at sea.

The Orca was a brigand ship intent on piracy.

All profits were contested first then split among the ranks,

But none would be for proper trade or kept in proper banks.

 

The holds were bare upon this trip. No raid had been as yet.

Too late did Galen know his plight once caught up in their net.

Repenting of impatience, he maintained a solemn fast

And put up the appearance of a spotter in the mast.

 

Neglecting to cry out, he spied a distant ship or two

And let them pass. It was his luck no other shipmate knew.

One day he gave a signal. There was no approaching storm,

But dark beneath the surface moved an undulating form

 

Of massive size. In consequence, they sounded more alarms.

The hardest pirates feared their fates within the Kraken’s arms.

With sails drawn slack and cannon down, the boat began to drift.

Keen eyes were peeled upon the waves to see what shape might lift.

 

The watchmen at the bow first saw the dim, primeval sign.

Two giant, round, unblinking eyes stared upward through the brine.

Just then, cries sounded from the stern in warning of a trap,

Long tentacles in tight embrace that made the timbers snap.

 

In spreading, inky camouflage, the surface waves were oiled.

With serpentine appendages, the darkened waters boiled.

So as a sword but one third drawn and two thirds in the sheath,

The Kraken writhed above the waves with twice more underneath.

 

The shattered ship was sinking low. The Kraken held it fast

And killed the crew in minutes, save for Galen in the mast,

And as the hull was pulled below, the mast alone still stood,

A crucifix above the sea, scant shelter for the good.

 

The Kraken then released its grip once filled with evil men.

Seen from above, it seemed to grow, thus fed on mortal sin,

While Galen, from his tilting perch gaped at the floating mass,

For in a coil of tentacle, he saw his true love pass,

 

A deathly pale upon her face, once radiant by day.

Her comely corpse through many years had suffered no decay.

The hair that once the wind had swept by water now was combed.

Her captor pulled her out of sight as to the deep it homed.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#7)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones, III ( check it out at Pneumythology)

VII. The Wrong Lot

 

In some odd way, impassioned youth, so hungry and so lean,

Can concentrate on final goals and miss the steps between.

Romance and proud adventure holding sway in Galen’s head,

He dreamed of reputation made and wished the Kraken dead.

 

It seems he didn’t think it out but moved instinctively

And wandered toward the siren song emitting from the sea.

As from the hills and forests green his journey led him down,

He headed not to prophet’s house but toward a harbor town.

 

A dismal place it seemed to be, as day began to fade,

Since rumors of the Kraken had inhibited its trade.

One building there was gaily lit. It’s doors were open wide.

The tavern called invitingly, and Galen stepped inside.

 

With savings earned, he purchased ale and sat down on a bench.

The barmaid came by presently, a fair and strapping wench.

She said, “The coins within your purse will purchase what you please.”

She pointed to his empty mug. “I’ll fetch one more of these.”

 

“Yes, do that,” laughed a husky voice and then another two.

“This patron bears the look of one with better things to do.”

Then Galen, turning toward the voice that he might better know,

Saw laughing over hearty brew a dozen men or so.

 

The chief among their company held forth with rousing wit

While, motioning with roughened hand, he bade the young man sit.

Gray stubble grew upon his jaw. A scar was on his cheek.

A wily look was in his eye, and, oh, how he could speak!

 

By such approach, the blacksmith’s son was quickly taken in

And joined the conversation of those rugged sailing men.

He heard their tales and sang their songs. He laughed and carried on.

The drinking followed round on round. His money soon was gone.

 

The Kraken swam within his mind till, pricked by guilt and doubt

Along with curiosity, the novice blurted out,

“How would your ship defend itself in case of an attack?”

With humorous indignity, the captain answered back,

 

“My ship has ample cannon, powder stored upon its shelves

With cutlasses and pistols. We can take care of ourselves.”

And Galen, in his addled state forgetting what he knew,

Grinned as the room began to spin and said, “Your ship will do.”

 

He next awoke by light of day upon a rolling deck,

With swollen tongue, unfocused eyes, and stiffness in his neck.

A harsher voice than he had heard the merry night before

Yelled, “On your feet, and get to work! Do what we pay you for!”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#6)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?) 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

VI. The Apprenticeship

The night was spent with further conversation, food, and sleep.

When morning came, the boy set out with promises to keep.

His friend called out a proverb, enigmatic in its way,

“Expected change will surely come when night turns into day,

 

“And though you think this tragedy as bad as it can get,

If you will hearken to me, you will come by comfort yet

To know the situation isn’t what it seems to be.

The Kraken can obscure, but never feed on, purity.”

 

As Galen walked back toward his home along the stony beach,

Though none appeared, he thought he heard a flock of eagles screech

A cry unbound by space and time, its timbre sharp and shrill,

Much like a trumpet’s battle call when sounded from a hill.

 

He turned to face the rising land, his back against the tide.

His winding path led through the hills and to his father’s side.

The good man chuckled at the news delivered by his son

That, of the trades he might have tried, he’d settled on this one.

 

Not knowing whether such a choice was by the boy’s device,

He said, “We’ll both give this a try, but start with this advice.

Though I don’t know the final goal on which your hopes are set,

Be durable and sure of hand. You’ll make a blacksmith yet.”

 

Comparing to his father’s build, his own was rather small,

But, owing to inheritance, he’d grow both broad and tall.

For seven years, he labored hard to learn his father’s trade,

And, with the passing of each one, the prophet’s words would fade.

 

By rambling thoughts of gallantry was Galen much amused.

About the daily sweat and toil he seemed much less enthused.

One day, while working at the forge, his father’s arms went slack.

He turned and spoke these solemn words while straightening his back,

 

“My son, you’ve grown and served me well. Regardless of your plan,

The time has come to make your way. Go forth. You are a man.”

He paid his wages, hugged his neck, but neither of them knew

That, once the son was gone, the father’s life would soon be through.

 

The end would come while Galen was constrained upon a ship,

Commissioned by mistaken choice, a nearly fatal slip.

With freedom gained and body strong, it’s typical that he

Forgot the prophet’s sayings of what he was meant to be.

 

A little truth can lead astray such youthful confidence.

He still retained his childish zeal but wanted common sense.

His pockets full of silver coins, away from home he turned,

From father’s trade and prophet’s way, from skills and lessons learned.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

Spoiler: this is not a political statement.

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I guess we had a presidential debate last night here in the United States.  I wouldn’t know, since I watched the first few minutes of it and went in the other room to read The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Good book, BTW.

Anyway, back to the debate.  I say I wouldn’t know if it really was a debate or not, or merely the circus it was billed to be.  I’ll probably hear about it at some point; I’m certainly not a political analyst like those who are paid to influence the rest of us. 

It’s not that I’m not proud to be an American, or least of our American heritage and those who continue to uphold the good therein, many times at great personal sacrifice.  It’s not that I’m not going to vote; I will. 

But a friend of mine gave me a good reminder that bears repeating again and again: God is in control.  I knew that, I know it now, but it’s good to hear it from someone else.  God is in control.  Here’s what He said back in the day through his prophet Isaiah, (things weren’t looking overly optimistic then, either)—

 “I will watch quietly from my dwelling place—
    as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day,
    or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.”

We like to harp and gripe about where is God, why isn’t He DOING something, blah, blah.  To me, the answer remains:

 He has, He is, and He will. 

And I had better be on board with that plan, however and whenever and through whomever He chooses to unfold it.  Because it really isn’t about the economy, personal prosperity, immigration, or ISIS.  Those are mere symptoms of the deeper, more insidious cause.

“It” is about Him.  It always has been.  And someday, we will all realize that. 

Even I know that, and I’m not even a prophet.

Isaiah 18:4  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Worriers, unite! (and then go somewhere else.)

wood 2Did you know that our upper atmosphere is totally littered with cosmic debris, some of which could break through and wreck havoc at anytime, unannounced by our sophisticated technology?  (Remember Russia a few years ago?) 

Or how about the “definitely-not-Kansas-Toto” freak tornado in China that terrified a schoolyard of children and teachers?

A little closer to home is the New Madrid fault line, where I live here in the Midwest of the USA.  I read this little tidbit this morning: “…earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California…”, and that we are about thirty years overdue for a major jiggle. (Bob tried to soothe me when we moved here saying that we would be living on the side of our town a little further away from the crack…)

Making it more personal, I was sitting out on the patio this morning right before sunrise, enjoying the relative cool, the quiet of crickets and waking birds, the serenity of my big black dog and my pot of very black tea.  Deep breath.  Nice.  

Then the sun came up, I turned off the outdoor lights (Bob likes it when I do that) and continued my morning on the porch. After a bit I noticed a big spider web built on the side of my table with (guess what) a big spider in the middle RIGHT NEXT TO MY ELBOW–all morning!  

I relocated quickly.

Closer inspection confirmed the spider was deceased (evidently not his own web?) and after clearing the area of the offending wildlife, my skin stopped creeping as I sat back down.

My thought is that potential dangers (or at best, inconveniences) are all around me, and I’m not even aware of most of them.  Yes, I wear my seatbelt.  Yes, I eat properly, (and sometimes I even exercise.)  Yes, I put on my bike helmet before riding to Walmart for groceries. (Yes, I wear spandex…TMI??) 

But even with the best of all things, other things still happen. Unexpected things. Tragic things. Things that have nothing to do with terrorist attacks or misplaced passions and loyalties belonging only to humankind.  (And we all know, especially these days, that many humans are not kind.)

When Bob’s dad died of a heart attack at a young age, my husband said, 

“God is still on His throne.”

If anyone had reason to worry, it was the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk.  He came to this conclusion:

I trembled inside when I heard this;
    my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,
    and I shook in terror.
I will wait quietly for the coming day
    when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

Meteorological interruptions or man-made intrusions, God is still in control.

Time for that Walmart run.  (Helmet on, of course.)

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Habakkuk 3:16-19  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

Agabus, by any other name, would still be, um…different.

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Agabus—now there’s a name you don’t hear very often, if ever.  He’s only really mentioned twice in the early church account of Acts, as a prophet, which means he was a bit open to doing unconventional things….but that’s a different story.

The first time we see him is in the town of Antioch in the middle of Continue reading “Agabus, by any other name, would still be, um…different.”